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Default Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-20-2009, 03:35 AM

I'm sure that most of you are familiar with Pascal's wager. It proves that atheism is a gamble not worth taking. If the atheist is right, then when he dies he's just dead, and the Christian doesn't fare any worse for being wrong. If the atheist is wrong, however, then he will pay for it by burning in Hell for eternity while the Christian receives eternal bliss in Heaven.

The situation can be summed up by the following chart, showing the payoffs of the two beliefs compared to the truth or falsehood of those beliefs.

.Christianity is TrueAtheism is True
ChristianHeaven (+∞)Dead (0)
AtheistHell (-∞)Dead (0)


As you can see, the atheist gains nothing by being right, and the Christian loses nothing by being wrong. You would have to be really bad at math to think there is any benefit to atheism.

Last Friday morning I was doing some street preaching in Raleigh just across Hillsborough Street from the NC State campus, and I brought up this topic. An atheist heckler in the crowd shouted at me, "What if the Muslims are right? Then you'll be in Hell with me!"

I said in response, "You don't know what you're talking about, friend. According to Islam, Christians like me are considered 'people of the book', so in the off chance that Islam is true, I will also go to their Heaven. I would be a Dhimmi, or a second class citizen, but that's better than the Muslim Hell, which is where unbelievers like you would be."

A tired objection that skeptics always raise to the Pascal's wager argument is that it only accounts for belief vs. unbelief, and is unhelpful in choosing among religions. So I expanded the payoff chart to account for Christianity, Atheism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Wicca.

Before I compiled the chart, I knew how it was going to turn out. Christianity is the only religion where salvation is based solely on faith. All other religions are either partially or completely works-based.

I counted any Heaven as infinite payout and any Hell as infinite punishment. I arbitrarily decided that Dhimmitude in the Muslim Heaven is half as good as being a first class citizen of Heaven, but any fraction of infinity could have been used without affecting the relative payout. I also arbitrarily chose +1/-1 as the values for being reincarnated into a better or worse life, respectively, but any positive/negative fininte numbers could have been used without affecting the relative payout.

.Christianity is TrueAtheism is TrueJudaism is TrueIslam is TrueHinduism is TrueBuddhism is TrueWicca is True
Christian, good personHeaven (+∞)Dead (0)Heaven (+∞)Heaven, 2nd Class (+∞/2)Reincarnated up (+1)Reincarnated up (+1)Summerland (+∞)
Christian, bad personHeaven (+∞)Dead (0)Dead (0)Hell (-∞)Reincarnated down (-1)Reincarnated down (-1)Reincarnated down (-1)
Atheist, good personHell (-∞)Dead (0)Heaven (+∞)Hell (-∞)Reincarnated up (+1)Reincarnated up (+1)Summerland (+∞)
Atheist, bad personHell (-∞)Dead (0)Dead (0)Hell (-∞)Reincarnated down (-1)Reincarnated down (-1)Reincarnated down (-1)
Jew, good personHell (-∞)Dead (0)Heaven (+∞)Heaven, 2nd Class (+∞/2)Reincarnated up (+1)Reincarnated up (+1)Summerland (+∞)
Jew, bad personHell (-∞)Dead (0)Dead (0)Hell (-∞)Reincarnated down (-1)Reincarnated down (-1)Reincarnated down (-1)
Muslim, good personHell (-∞)Dead (0)Heaven (+∞)Heaven (+∞)Reincarnated up (+1)Reincarnated up (+1)Summerland (+∞)
Muslim, bad personHell (-∞)Dead (0)Dead (0)Hell (-∞)Reincarnated down (-1)Reincarnated down (-1)Reincarnated down (-1)
Hindu, perfect personHell (-∞)Dead (0)Heaven (+∞)Hell (-∞)Moksha (+∞)Reincarnated up (+1)Summerland (+∞)
Hindu, goodHell (-∞)Dead (0)Heaven (+∞)Hell (-∞)Reincarnated way up (+10)Reincarnated up (+1)Summerland (+∞)
Hindu, bad personHell (-∞)Dead (0)Dead (0)Hell (-∞)Reincarnated way down (-10)Reincarnated down (-1)Reincarnated down (-1)
Buddhist, perfect personHell (-∞)Dead (0)Heaven (+∞)Hell (-∞)Reincarnated up (+1)Nirvana (+∞)Summerland (+∞)
Buddhist, good personHell (-∞)Dead (0)Heaven (+∞)Hell (-∞)Reincarnated up (+1)Reincarnated way up (+10)Summerland (+∞)
Buddhist, bad personHell (-∞)Dead (0)Dead (0)Hell (-∞)Reincarnated down (-1)Reincarnated way down (-10)Reincarnated down (-1)
Wiccan, good personHell (-∞)Dead (0)Heaven (+∞)Hell (-∞)Reincarnated up (+1)Reincarnated up (+1)Summerland (+∞)
Wiccan, bad personHell (-∞)Dead (0)Dead (0)Hell (-∞)Reincarnated down (-1)Reincarnated down (-1)Reincarnated way down (-10)


You should already be able to see that if you are a Christian who does good works, then the worst case scenario is that the atheists are right and you're just dead -- but then so is everybody else! But let's go into the details anyway.

Now we have an expanded version of Pascal's wager that will allow people to pick a belief based on the payout.

If Atheism is true, it doesn't matter what you believe or how you lived, because everyone gets the same outcome, so there's no point in picking this one.

If Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, or Wicca are true, then what you believe doesn't matter, but how you lived does matter. Since you get the same payout whether or not you believe, there's no point in picking one of these either, but you might want to consider being a good person in case they are true.

Now we are left with the only two where your particular belief matters, Christianity and Islam. I'll draw a smaller payout chart to give a cleaner comparison.

.Christianity is TrueIslam is True
Christian, good personHeaven (+∞)Heaven, 2nd Class (+∞/2)
Christian, bad personHeaven (+∞)Hell (-∞)
Muslim, good personHell (-∞)Heaven (+∞)
Muslim, bad personHell (-∞)Hell (-∞)


If Christianity is true, then the Christian is rewarded no matter what, and the Muslim is punished no matter what. If Islam is true, then the good person is rewarded no matter what, and the bad person is punished no matter what, but the good Muslim receives a better reward than the good Christian.

The worst case scenario for a good Christian is Dhimmitude in the Muslim Heaven if Islam is true, but the worst case scenario for a good Muslim is Hell if Christianity is true. It's far better to be a good Christian and risk being a second class citizen in the Muslim Heaven than to be a Muslim and risk an eternity of torment in Hell.

Pastor Billy-Reuben


Upon request I will cite scripture for all these facts in God's Holy Word.

✝ This is a Christian community and we worship GOD of the Holy bible, the only Living GOD. We worship Jesus Christ, Son of GOD and Savior. Anything else is absurd. ✝
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Last edited by Pastor Billy-Reuben; 01-21-2009 at 08:11 PM. Reason: Better/worse payouts for good/bad practicing Hindus, Buddhists, and Wiccans
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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Religion Gives the Best Payout? - 01-20-2009, 03:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pastor Billy-Reuben View Post
I'm sure that most of you are familiar with Pascal's wager. It proves that atheism is a gamble not worth taking. If the atheist is right, then when he dies he's just dead, and the Christian doesn't fare any worse for being wrong. If the atheist is wrong, however, then he will pay for it by burning in Hell for eternity while the Christian receives eternal bliss in Heaven.

Pastor Billy-Reuben
Pastor, that is an excellent summation. I wish you had completed it before I suggested to Joe707 that he accept Pascal's wager so that he could have seen the actual, mathematical PROOF of Christianity's indisputable advantages over every other option. Nonetheless, it a seminal work!

Sadly, I must fine you one month's salary and benefits for equating Christianity in the actual terms of a gamble. Since you are not being paid, the automatic tithe will obviously not be deducted from your check this month. We will take a double-deduction next month plus one more for interest.

Yours in Christ
Pastor Al


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Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth.--Psalms 58:6


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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Religion Gives the Best Payout? - 01-20-2009, 03:56 AM

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Originally Posted by Pastor Al E Pistle View Post
Pastor, that is an excellent summation. I wish you had completed it before I suggested to Joe707 that he accept Pascal's wager so that he could have seen the actual, mathematical PROOF of Christianity's indisputable advantages over every other option. Nonetheless, it a seminal work!
He'll be back. I believe the Lord has plans for him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pastor Al E Pistle View Post
Sadly, I must fine you one month's salary and benefits for equating Christianity in the actual terms of a gamble. Since you are not being paid, the automatic tithe will obviously not be deducted from your check this month. We will take a double-deduction next month plus one more for interest.
But choosing Christianity is obviously no gamble. It's the surest sure-thing there is.

I just put it in mathematical terms so that those "logical atheists" (yeah, right ) can relate to it.

Pastor Billy-Reuben


Upon request I will cite scripture for all these facts in God's Holy Word.

✝ This is a Christian community and we worship GOD of the Holy bible, the only Living GOD. We worship Jesus Christ, Son of GOD and Savior. Anything else is absurd. ✝
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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-20-2009, 04:01 AM

I like your chart Pastor Billy. I'm a bit confused about how the christians who are bad people go to heaven. Don't you believe true christians don't sin anymore? Or sin rarely?
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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-20-2009, 07:12 AM

Praise Pastor Billy-Reuben, your exposition is on a par (like Schrödinger's Cat) with some of the great physics thought experiments of all time. Even Einstein once remarked that God does not play dice with the universe.


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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-20-2009, 08:25 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy Ram View Post
I like your chart Pastor Billy. I'm a bit confused about how the christians who are bad people go to heaven. Don't you believe true christians don't sin anymore? Or sin rarely?
Billy Ram, if you ever meet Deacon Harry Hardwick, you'll know for sure that there are good Christians who aren't necesessarily the friendliest folk out there.
You do not want to cross the good Deacon. I can attest to this personally. And yet nobody alive, with the possible exceptions of Pastor Deacon Fred and Sister Betty Bower, is a better Christian than Deacon Hardwick. He just distributes the Lord's mercy, and that's not always what the rest of society thinks of when they contemplate mercy in general.



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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-20-2009, 02:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy Ram View Post
I like your chart Pastor Billy. I'm a bit confused about how the christians who are bad people go to heaven. Don't you believe true christians don't sin anymore? Or sin rarely?
Of course saved Christians quit sinning after we get saved.

Imagine a man (we'll call him Frank) who spent sixty years of his life lying, cheating, and stealing, but then repented of that, got saved, and then did good works for the remaining 10 years of his life.

The works based religions believe that a good person is one whose good deeds outweigh their evil deeds. So according to those faiths, Frank was, on balance, a bad person.

According to our faith, however, those sins were all washed away the moment he got saved, and he didn't need to go out and try to make up for it because the debt has already been paid.

Pastor Billy-Reuben


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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-20-2009, 03:16 PM

I get it now. Pastor, you should write a book. I bet you could outsell even Billy Grahm and become America's Favorite Preacher. Praise God!
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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-20-2009, 03:31 PM

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Originally Posted by Ahimaaz Smith View Post
Billy Ram, if you ever meet Deacon Harry Hardwick, you'll know for sure that there are good Christians who aren't necesessarily the friendliest folk out there.
You do not want to cross the good Deacon. I can attest to this personally. And yet nobody alive, with the possible exceptions of Pastor Deacon Fred and Sister Betty Bower, is a better Christian than Deacon Hardwick. He just distributes the Lord's mercy, and that's not always what the rest of society thinks of when they contemplate mercy in general.
Well he does strike me as a big teddy bear. Not the homersexual idea of a bear, please don't misunderstand me. But yes, I see how he could be used as an instrument of God's Wrath.
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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-20-2009, 10:07 PM

I like those payouts, Pastor! Christianity is like getting the Mega-Ball every time!


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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-21-2009, 03:30 PM

That's an interesting matrix you have compiled there Pastor. (thought it made more sense to post here, rather than in Joe's Qs).

For me, there’s an interesting clue in the header. It works only if there’s some future payout. (You will say that this is too obvious to even mention!) Is Pascal’s wager any sort of sensible or adequate guide with which to approach an ineffable and supreme divinity? It's a big concern, because this is not some flutter on a football game we're talking about. It comes from the deepest longing of the soul, doesn't it? But anyway, can we agree it only works on future events? Which makes ‘salvation’ an ideal beneficiary.

Except......... Pascal failed to notice a very dark flipside: you must spend your three score years and ten in this life subscribing to psychologically and spiritually destructive belief. Everything is deferred in favour of an almighty unknown, so all your earthly years are spent in limbo, missing any opportunity right in front of your face. Some would say that’s a pretty big deal. It denies the value and worth of this life, and it denies the possibility of any ‘salvation’ in this life. By loading a payoff so heavily in another world, it exerts a tremendously destructive force on the soul. You have to see the toll this takes on the psychology and the spirit. Is salvation possible in this life? If not, then we are all imprisoned in a constant cycle of fear and hopefulness for our time here. It’s really quite horrific.

[Btw, Hindu and Buddhism are not really ‘deeds’-based; but nor are they a matter of singular belief. It would be closer to the truth to say that they involve a synthesis of both of these, and much more. The spiritual laws are more subtle and complex than have been suggested here. For one thing, thought and action are not treated as separate entities. Ultimately they are not divorced from each other as they are in your theology; where, as you say, one can commit all manner of unspeakable acts, as long as your faith is strong, before the crucial moment.]

Could the kingdom of God also be within each of us? What does that mean, is it jibberish? If it’s possible to know this, then Pascal’s wager as an invite loses all value, and becomes a bit of a meaningless exercise. Like playing roulette, and knowing that one need never put any money down.

Quote:
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But choosing Christianity is obviously no gamble. It's the surest sure-thing there is.
But what’s to be gained from the idea of future salvation if you already dwell in the infinite love of God, and realised that it was always thus? That it never had a beginning and will never end? If salvation is possible not only after death – but right here, and right now; then I guess that would be the best choice of all.

Why buy a Lotto ticket when are you rich beyond your wildest dreams, and know you have been all along?
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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-21-2009, 03:50 PM

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Originally Posted by joe707 View Post
Except......... Pascal failed to notice a very dark flipside: you must spend your three score years and ten in this life subscribing to psychologically and spiritually destructive belief. Everything is deferred in favour of an almighty unknown, so all your earthly years are spent in limbo, missing any opportunity right in front of your face..
Despite your three dollar words, you're just a simple Jesus hater who has come to Church to criticize those whom he does not know.


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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-21-2009, 04:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe707 View Post
[…]It works only if there’s some future payout. (You will say that this is too obvious to even mention!)
Pascal was trying to get across that even if there is no “future payout” nothing has been lost, so the minimum overall risk is 0.
Quote:
Is Pascal’s wager any sort of sensible or adequate guide with which to approach an ineffable and supreme divinity?
Pascal did not arrive at his conjecture in order to supply an approach to God; he merely applied logic to whether or not one should “approach God”.
Quote:
But anyway, can we agree it only works on future events?
As it was a wager, and all wagers concern future events, I think we can all agree on that. However, if you wish to consider whether the dead benefitted – it would logically appear that they did.
Quote:
Except......... Pascal failed to notice a very dark flipside: you must spend your three score years and ten in this life subscribing to psychologically and spiritually destructive belief.
He did not fail in anything he attempted in this conjecture. Regardless of what happens in the 70 years on earth, 70 years, as a percentage of eternity is nothing, nil, zero, zilch.
Quote:
Everything is deferred in favour of an almighty unknown, so all your earthly years are spent in limbo, missing any opportunity right in front of your face.
Limbo is a catholic concept and thus a lie. There is no Biblical evidence for “limbo”. Further, you have made an error of logic – you have assumed that being a True Christian would prevent you from leading a fulfilled life. This is never the case.
Quote:
Some would say that’s a pretty big deal. It denies the value and worth of this life, and it denies the possibility of any ‘salvation’ in this life.
And, equally, some would not; those people would be correct. Nothing in Pascal’s Wager “denies the possibility of any ‘salvation’ in this life”
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By loading a payoff so heavily in another world, it exerts a tremendously destructive force on the soul. You have to see the toll this takes on the psychology and the spirit.
I do not follow this argument at all, if it is an argument. Where is this “toll”?
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Is salvation possible in this life?
I would suggest that the answer must be “Yes” If at the moment immediately before earthly death, you are in the state of being ‘Saved’ then there is Salvation in this life. Look on it as the saving of a shipwrecked mariner – he has Salvation when the man in the lifeboat reaches out to him and grasps him.
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If not, then we are all imprisoned in a constant cycle of fear and hopefulness for our time here. It’s really quite horrific.
The “imprisoned in a constant cycle of fear” is a little dramatic. Any fear is self-created
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But what’s to be gained from the idea of future salvation if you already dwell in the infinite love of God,
Although God’s Love is infinite, it is reserved for those who worship Him – this is a main theme of the Bible.




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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-21-2009, 08:13 PM

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Originally Posted by joe707 View Post
Btw, Hindu and Buddhism are not really ‘deeds’-based; but nor are they a matter of singular belief. It would be closer to the truth to say that they involve a synthesis of both of these, and much more.
I did show that you have to be Buddhist to get into Nirvana and you have to be Hindu to get into Moksha, but you have a point.

If Buddhism is true, then a good Buddhist should get a better reincarnation than a good non-Buddhist, and an evil Buddhist should get a worse reincarnation than an evil non-Buddhist, because he should have known better. The same goes for Hindus and Wiccans.

I edited the original matrix to take that into account.

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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-23-2009, 05:21 PM

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Originally Posted by Ezekiel Bathfire View Post
Pascal was trying to get across that even if there is no “future payout” nothing has been lost, so the minimum overall risk is 0.Pascal did not arrive at his conjecture in order to supply an approach to God; he merely applied logic to whether or not one should “approach God”. As it was a wager, and all wagers concern future events, I think we can all agree on that. However, if you wish to consider whether the dead benefitted – it would logically appear that they did.He did not fail in anything he attempted in this conjecture. Regardless of what happens in the 70 years on earth, 70 years, as a percentage of eternity is nothing, nil, zero, zilch.Limbo is a catholic concept and thus a lie. There is no Biblical evidence for “limbo”. Further, you have made an error of logic – you have assumed that being a True Christian would prevent you from leading a fulfilled life. This is never the case.And, equally, some would not; those people would be correct. Nothing in Pascal’s Wager “denies the possibility of any ‘salvation’ in this life” I do not follow this argument at all, if it is an argument. Where is this “toll”?I would suggest that the answer must be “Yes” If at the moment immediately before earthly death, you are in the state of being ‘Saved’ then there is Salvation in this life. Look on it as the saving of a shipwrecked mariner – he has Salvation when the man in the lifeboat reaches out to him and grasps him.The “imprisoned in a constant cycle of fear” is a little dramatic. Any fear is self-createdAlthough God’s Love is infinite, it is reserved for those who worship Him – this is a main theme of the Bible.
I am saying that the minimum overall risk is not ‘0’ - it is painful and confusing for all your earthly days, because one's mind is always projected into an unknown future, dictated by an idea. That is not ‘neutral’. And is logic a useful tool to decide whether one should even approach God? Is that what first drew you to the church? A statistical exercise? Not for me. You are right, 70 years as a percentage of infinity is indeed nothing, but eternity is easily misunderstood. It does not exist in the future or the past, so such relations make no sense. It can not be computed or understood by the mind alone for this reason.

You are right, Pascal may not have expressly denied the possibility of salvation in this life, but it is implicit in the theology. Your example emphasizes this – the preconditions for salvation may happen right before earthly death but the actual salvation is always, always just beyond. You say it is never possible to have it now.

So the toll is this denying of truth right now, and denying yourself the possibility of truth and salvation for every moment of this life. It is crippling to do so. Fear and hope are two sides of the same coin, one can not exist without the other. Both are painful.
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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-23-2009, 05:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pastor Billy-Reuben View Post
I did show that you have to be Buddhist to get into Nirvana and you have to be Hindu to get into Moksha, but you have a point.

If Buddhism is true, then a good Buddhist should get a better reincarnation than a good non-Buddhist, and an evil Buddhist should get a worse reincarnation than an evil non-Buddhist, because he should have known better. The same goes for Hindus and Wiccans.

I edited the original matrix to take that into account.

Pastor Billy-Reuben
Thanks Pastor - the interesting thing also is that from these perspectives the tags 'good' and 'bad' themselves ultimately mean little, since the laws of karma care not for what labels people like to give themselves, but for what their souls have truly known.

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Despite your three dollar words, you're just a simple Jesus hater who has come to Church to criticize those whom he does not know.
On the contrary!
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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-23-2009, 06:16 PM

Some pagan mathematician might say there is no Nash equilibrium for the expanded game, because Christianity does not offer the highest payout for all religions. I say, John Nash was a demonic schizo, so there!
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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-23-2009, 06:21 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe707 View Post
So the toll is this denying of truth right now, and denying yourself the possibility of truth and salvation for every moment of this life. It is crippling to do so. Fear and hope are two sides of the same coin, one can not exist without the other. Both are painful.
My point exactly, Joe! That's why we need your money NOW! To get the proper amount of fear instilled into people before it's too late and AS GOD DEMANDS! Because we are TRUE CHRISTIANS™. We have promises to keep. And miles to go before we sleep. Remember, Joe. Miles to go before we sleep.


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Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth.--Psalms 58:6


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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-23-2009, 06:38 PM

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Originally Posted by joe707 View Post
I am saying that the minimum overall risk is not ‘0’ - it is painful and confusing for all your earthly days, because one's mind is always projected into an unknown future, dictated by an idea. That is not ‘neutral’.
I think you might be suffering from a bad dose of guilt and inadequacy. I’m sure you are skilled at something and others are impressed by a facility that you find second nature. I find being a True Christian™ second nature – no effort at all, now I am used to it. I do not worry, my life is a pleasant stroll to Eternity.
Quote:
And is logic a useful tool to decide whether one should even approach God?
As this discussion revolves around Pascal’s wager, and as Pascal’s Wager concerns logic, your question is inappropriate.


However, all roads to The Lord are good roads.
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Is that what first drew you to the church? A statistical exercise? Not for me.
No, but if only one soul is saved…
Quote:
You are right, 70 years as a percentage of infinity is indeed nothing, but eternity is easily misunderstood. It does not exist in the future or the past, so such relations make no sense. It can not be computed or understood by the mind alone for this reason.
As long as God understands, is this not sufficient?
Quote:
You are right, Pascal may not have expressly denied the possibility of salvation in this life, but it is implicit in the theology. Your example emphasizes this – the preconditions for salvation may happen right before earthly death but the actual salvation is always, always just beyond. You say it is never possible to have it now.
This is like saying that you pay insurance against an eventuality and do not know if it is worth it until the eventuality happens (and let's face it, it may not.) How many people you know sit around worrying about their insurance policies? Are they normal?




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Default Re: Game Theory: Which Faith Gives the Best Payout? - 01-25-2009, 01:22 AM

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Originally Posted by Ezekiel Bathfire View Post
No, but if only one soul is saved…
Yes, definitely one soul is worth helping I think.

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Originally Posted by Ezekiel Bathfire View Post
As long as God understands, is this not sufficient?
That’s a very interesting question. I believe there are things we will never fully understand. But we have been created in God’s image, and many things have been offered as gifts to us, but they are known not by the mind but through other means.

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How many people you know sit around worrying about their insurance policies? Are they normal?
Everyone worries about their insurance policies. It is there, even when they are not sitting around. Everyone wants insurance, and wants to be reassured that they can put something down now as payment for what might come to pass. This is fear, and also hope. Everyone worries about the future, where they will go, and whether they will be saved or the opposite. It is a real fear.
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